Lionel Messi penalty: Robert Pires and Thierry Henry, Johan Cruyff and Jesper Olsen and others to try trick penalties

Messi's pass to Luis Suarez to score for Barcelona was far from the first time the 'pass penalty' has been utilised

Jack de Menezes
Monday 15 February 2016 12:57
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Robert Pires and Thierry Henry react after their infamous 'pass penalty' attempt in 2005
Robert Pires and Thierry Henry react after their infamous 'pass penalty' attempt in 2005

Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez took the plaudits for their moment of magic to turn what is normally a simple goalscoring chance in the form of a penalty kick into an intelligent and smart piece of trickery, but the Barcelona pair are far from the first to try it.

Perhaps the most famous of such moves is credited to Johan Cruyff and his former Ajax team-mate Jesper Olsen in 1982, but the first recorded effort stretches way back to 1957 and actually featured in Belgium, not the Netherlands.

It came from Rik Coppens and Andre Piters in an international fixture between Belgium and Iceland, with Coppens choosing to nudge the ball forward into the path of Piters rather than having an effort on goal.

Piter returned the pass, despite the efforts of Iceland goalkeeper Bjorgvin Hermannsson to close him down, and Coppens was able to tap the ball into the back of the unguarded net.

The first such case in England appeared to come seven years later when Plymouth took on Manchester City. A match between the two sides these days would likely result in City running rings around their Argyle opponents, but things weren’t always that way and in 1964, Mike Trebilcock and John Newman stitched City up with the former laying the ball on to the latter to belt the ball home.

Some years later, Trebilcock was quoted to have said: "I was playing for Plymouth Argyle at the time, and Big Malcolm Allison was the manager. It was one of his mad ideas."

However, any Premier League fan familiar with the famous Arsenal “Invincibles” will also remember the calamitous effort from club greats Robert Pires and Thierry Henry. Having already struck a penalty into the back of the Manchester City net at Highbury, Pires looked certain to double his tally from the spot

Instead, he attempted to roll the ball into the path on Henry, only to completely scuff his pass and leave Henry in doubt over whether he could legally touch the ball.

The episode was an embarrassing one for the most dominant team the Premier League has seen, yet provided rival fans with a hilarious moment to recall whenever the “Invincibles” were brought up in conversation.

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